Saturday, 1 August 2015

KID'S KLASSIC KOMIC KOVERS - THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700...


Image copyright MARVEL COMICS

At last!  It was what we'd all been waiting for!  STEVE DITKO's
hitherto unpublished (at least on the front of a comicbook) cover for
AMAZING FANTASY #15, finally appearing on what was touted as
the last issue of The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.  So why did STAN
LEE reject Steve's cover and have JACK KIRBY redraw it - photo-
statting the speech balloons and lower caption on Ditko's version
and transferring them over to Kirby's?

Could it be that it looked as if Spidey was going to swing into
the wall of the building rather than past it?  Or was it because he was
revealing his secret identity to more than just the guy under his arm?
(Who we can assume was too frightened to be listening anyway.  And
besides, the cover scene was merely symbolic.)  Did Stan just not like
the composition of Steve's design, or was it for some other, indefin-
able reason?  I guess we'll never know for sure, but it was good
to see the original finally grace an actual Spidey mag.

14 comments:

John Pitt said...

I never knew this had happened! I've seen it many times as the unused AF#15, but I didn't know they had used it as the end of TAS-M vol.1. A fitting end, indeed!

Kid said...

It was issued with a few covers, JP - this was one of the variant editions. It was soon demanding pretty high prices on the internet.

Colin Jones said...

Wow, I've never seen this cover before, Kid - I mean I didn't even know there was a Ditko version of AF #15. I think Stan Lee made the right choice though, this cover seems a bit cluttered compared to the simpler Kirby version.

Kid said...

I've shown it before, CJ, so see what you miss when you wander elsewhere? Actually, it proves that it's worthwhile to repeat stuff sometimes. Things about Kirby's version I didn't like were the fact that the guy under Spidey's arm seemed like a dwarf (with an uncanny resemblance to Boris Karloff - 'though I didn't mind that), and his (Spidey's) left arm was too long.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, feel free to repeat stuff - I only started reading your blog in late 2013 so I've missed lots of things. I do click on to those little widgets when I see something interesting but I still must have missed most of the former posts.

Kid said...

Of course, there's always the option of going to the first post and working your way through, CJ. Why should I do all the work? However, seeing as it's you...

John Pitt said...

Col, I thoroughly recommend doing just that! I did when it was called Kiddin' Around and it was an amazing trip through time and space!!

Kid said...

CJ, meet JP - my new agent.

Colin Jones said...

Actually, I have been back to the very beginning out of curiosity long before now so I know that the blog began then was abandoned for 6 months before starting properly but I haven't been all the way through from the beginning. I also know it used to be called Kiddin' Around :)

Kid said...

But now you know I'm serious about it, eh?

DeadSpiderEye said...

I see some continuity between this and the published cover for Amazing Fantasies, in that I imagine the brief including something like: 'I want him bursting out of the cover!'. Aside from its iconic status, the published version isn't particularly good, Spider looks as if he's about to drop the guy like groceries out the bottom of soggy paper bag and what are those people doing on the roof?

If bursting out the cover was a requirement of the brief, this version has a few problems. Indeed the building on the left does cramp the composition but the figure needs to be isolated, probably why they went for sky in the published version but the wrong colour in the background here doesn't help. I've got a suspicion this was taken from draft artwork, the perspective is completely skewed, not something I associate with Ditko, and the building on the left isn't aligned with the street. It looks more like an optional composition put forward for a brief but that's a bit speculative, it may just've been budget or time constraints.

What's interesting about it, is that it already introduces the novel physical vocabulary with which Ditko renders Spidey. You can see it in the exaggeration of the reflex arch of Spidey's leading foot. That might be another reason why it was canned, too quirky.

Kid said...

It's definitely finished artwork, DSE, as it appeared in its inked stage on the back cover of Marvelmania #2 in 1970. Also, the fact that it was lettered (the word balloons were photostatted and pasted on to Kirby's version, and the Spider-Man logo, omitted from #700, was statted and stuck over Ditko's own logo on the splash page) shows that it was more than a draft. The thing about it that jars with me is the way the bottom of the guy's left trouser leg sits on his calf.

DeadSpiderEye said...

I quite like the trouser leg riding up, I thought it was a nice touch, very Ditko.

Kid said...

Doesn't look as if it's riding up in quite the right way 'though - there's something amiss about it.

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